Anyone for a Trolley Tea?

Over winter, the extra time inside has led to a build-up of general clutter and “things” until I could stand it no longer and decided to sweep through the house getting rid of the excess. Out went the fiction books that will never be re-read, the clothes that won’t be worn again and things that I don’t like but have kept simply because somebody gave them to me. The office cupboard was emptied of (what seemed like) miles of electrical and computer cables all safely kept even though the original equipment has long since gone together with a box of floppy disks and old program disks that only work with Windows 3. Several trips to charity shops and recycling centres later and the house is beginning to look better and it’s easier to find things. So long as I haven’t got rid of them.

I haven’t done the kitchen yet because I’ll wait until I spring clean the cupboards and pantry (whichever year that turns out to be) but I’ve started to sort through the fabric, yarn and craft things. This is much more difficult. Will I use those odd balls of yarn? And all those scraps of fabric. Will they ever get made into a patchwork quilt or givewraps?

The pile of paper generated by my slight obsession last year with jelly printing has at least been put to use for making little books that I give instead of birthday cards. From a single sheet of paper, a little folding and cutting results in a booklet with pockets into which I can tuck things. Instead of stuffing a gift card or money into an envelope, I can slip it into one of the pockets and add a little momento or photograph.

afternoon tea
The newspaper cutting from my grandmother’s recipe book inspired a tea themed booklet complete with a copy of the article tucked into a pocket. I’d never heard of Tray Tea or Trolley Tea.

tea themed book with pockets

With tea bags tucked into the other pockets, appropriate for Tray, Trolley or High Tea it makes an interesting addition to a food hamper.

booklet made from map
An old map makes a Bon Voyage card.

book made from single sheet of paper

You can make these booklets with or without pockets, or with pockets on half the pages.Put a hard cover on the outside and you can make a more durable booklet, perhaps sticking a folding map or note to the back cover.

If you’d like to know how to make one of these pocket booklets from a sheet of paper, click here for some instructions. You just need a sheet of paper, a sharp knife and a dab of glue.

I can think of all sorts of ways to use these little books: party invitations with a map and list of accommodation tucked into the pockets or make them for children to take on a walk so they can collect feathers and the like as they go. You could tuck a key into one of the pockets with mysterious instructions or maybe a ring …

What would you tuck into a pocket?

Jelly printing with a gelatin plate

How to make a book from a single sheet of paper



28 thoughts on “Anyone for a Trolley Tea?

  1. The joy of chucking things out. I did three shelves in a large cupboard this morning. The things I found! The junk I chucked. The trip to the charity shop I need to do! The rest of the house to sort……

  2. Oh gorgeous folding, making and recycling Anne! I love the Bon Voyage card especially. Trolley Tea…an interlude, doesn’t that sound lovely? Tray Tea sounds good too. De-cluttering in the house is absolutely necessary I find, but I do need to do it more regularly.

  3. I remember trolley tea. Plates of small delicious sandwiches, at least two different kinds of cake and a pot of tea piled onto the wooden trolley and wheeled ceremoniously into the sitting room for tea in front of the fire. I did a charity shop drop off on Monday – Spring is in the air I think. The booklets are great. I used to make something similar with the children as holiday souvenirs.

    1. Your trolley tea sounds delicious. Maybe next time I do a charity shop drop I should look for a trolley while I’m there. Love the idea of using the books for holiday souvenirs.

  4. Your booklets are ingenious. Really creative. What a great idea. Have you been reading that book by Marie Kondo?! I’m planning a mass-declutter in the next week or so. Before Easter. It must be Spring 😊

    1. I haven’t read the book but I’ve read about some of her ideas. I suspect her decluttering is a bit brutal for me and her folding perhaps a step too far.

  5. I love your little booklets – I have to wait in all morning for the plumber today so guess what I shall be having a go at making?! Did you “dye” the paper for your tea booklet with tea? The war-time cutting is fascinating – what a wonderful discovery! Like you, I get blitz urges to go through the house in a de-cluttering storm. The only snag is that I seem infallibly to throw things out only to think of a perfect use for them a week or so later when it’s too late! You remind me that I really must tackle the stairs which courtesy of my son are becoming an impenetrable mountain pass. He seems to think stairs do a much better job than bookcases and it’s now becoming perilous to get up or down them without triggering a huge avalanche. Not good with a tray of tea cups! with or without war-time spiced biscuits! E x

    1. Yes, the paper was tea stained. I’ve had to rifle through the bin to retrieve things that I’ve found a use for later – but I only knew I had them because I’d had a sort out. That’s why I like charity shop donations to sit in the hallway for a couple of weeks before they get taken. That’s my excuse anyway. Hope you get your stairs cleared before you end up in a tea splattered heap at the bottom.

  6. I’ve never heard of Tray or Trolley Tea either, but I like the sound of both 🙂 I enjoyed reading the article snippet, thank-you for sharing.
    I love those little booklets, especially the tea one. Much more interesting to receive than a regular card and they look fun to make too.

    Sarah x

    1. I should label every wire before I put it into the cupboard so that at least I’d know if it was important. The trouble nowadays is that electrical items often come with not just a UK fitting but international ones.

  7. Oh God, just when I didn’t have enough to do I see this and think ‘Yay, fantastic idea, I must drop everything and have a go!’

    Anyway, thanks for this little gem, it’s nice when something tickles your fancy x.

  8. My father was a carpenter, we had at home a tea trolley that he made, which was used for tea when we had visitors. We have been de cluttering, I think it is a seasonal thing, more so this year with the wet winter.

  9. Anne, I was reading this going ‘yes, yes …’. I have just been doing exactly the same thing, major clear out, although we are coming in to autumn here. It was daunting to start with, now I am being very brave! I have been to the charity shop so many times they now recognise me. Those wartime recipes are wonderful, I was wondering just recently how Eccles cakes were made, and I love idea of a tea hierarchy! A trolley tea sounds quite Jane Austen in a way …. Your little folded books are fabulous, what a wonderful idea for cards, I think I might borrow that one! I love your posts, always so much to enjoy.

    1. I try to go to a different charity shop each time, so they don’t recognise me 🙂 I’ve found that the more I throw out, the easier it becomes.

  10. your clean out is so inspiring … and that yellowed newspaper clipping is wonderful. oh or the days when i a recipe could be distilled to a single paragraph!
    I would put a tea bag and a sturdy cotton hanky in a pocket. travelling essentials.

    1. Excellent idea to include a tea bag and hanky. 🙂 I agree about the single paragraph recipes. My old recipe books have hundreds of recipes but the new ones have few recipes with a photo for each one and such lengthy instructions sometimes.

Comments are closed.